If you know me, you also know that I am a huge lover of musicals and if you ever see me with my headphones in, chances are I’m playing a Rodgers and Hammerstein album or a newly-released Broadway recording. Through the hundreds of hours I’ve spent listening to showtunes, I’ve discovered some incredible shows that, in my opinion, don’t get nearly enough attention as they should. Here are 5 little-known musicals that are truly works of art.
1. Little Me
I’m a huge fan of musical comedies and this show, which was first performed in 1962 with revivals in both 1985 and 1999 is truly top dollar! The music is written by Cy Coleman who also created hits like On The Twentieth Century and City of Angels. This show is very much a farce with hilarious songs and lyrics. In my opinion, it’s right up there with beloved musical comedies like Book of Mormon and The Producers!
2. Finian’s Rainbow
What I really love about Finian’s Rainbow is the originality of both the lyrics and the melodies. This show was written in 1968 as a movie musical and then revived on Broadway in the early 2000s. The story is so sweet and fun, following a group of characters in search of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Just adorable! Songs like “Old Devil Moon” will always be close to my heart. This is truly a beautiful show.
When people ask me what my favourite musical is, full stop, I always say Assassins. Assassins was written by the honourable Stephen Sondheim and is reported to be his favourite of all the shows he’s written. Unfortunately, this show opened around the time of 9/11 and due to its dark political undertones, didn’t get the attention and praise it deserved. The music literally makes me cry, definitely worth a listen.
4. Wonderful Town
There’s On The Town and then there’s Wonderful Town. When I first listened to the Wonderful Town cast album, I was shocked that this show never got more attention. It was first performed in 1953 and has music written by the “wonderful” Leonard Bernstein (you know, the guy who composed West Side Story). The music makes me laugh out loud and it’s on par with some of the greatest golden age comedies of all time.
Contact is sort of a strange animal because it doesn’t technically have any dialogue or singing, but it does have dancing and features some pretty fun songs. Contact was directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman who ended up creating a sort of “play with music” set in an underground swing dance club. Everything is told through movement and I just love revisiting the recording of this underrated musical.
Change up your routine and switch on one of these amazing cast albums. You will be dancing in no time!